If there were a word that meant even-more-amazing, longtime photographer Gary Strain said he would have used it on Tuesday, describing the hub-bub his daughters created for their photography business using Facebook.

It happened like this:

His daughters Jackie Strain Mahar and Brandy Strain Dayer put 150 images the studio had taken in 2010 of children and families and pets in a photo album on Facebook. The Image of the Year, the one that got the most votes using the comment line on Facebook, would win a bundle of prizes, including a museum-quality portrait and a year’s worth of sittings at the studio.

The trick was to get lots of people to become "friends" of Strain studio. The more friends, the more votes.

The voting lasted 10 days, and each family encouraged their friends to get other friends to join and vote for their photo.

It all became complicated when the Strain’s Facebook page reached 5,000 friends. That’s the friends limit for Facebook.

(Lady Ga-Ga has 27 million friends, but we don’t know how she does it.)

So the Strains started another Facebook page, included the album, and the number of friends grew and grew.

By Tuesday, when the contest ended, there were more than 9,000 Strain Facebook friends.

Tuesday’s decorated cake, however, was iced with congratulations for reaching 8,000 friends. They blew past that.

Friends, in the flesh, dropped by all day to deliver a craft to "show their love," Brandy said. There were posters, sculptures, decorated hats and collages of photos taken from the Facebook page.

It was all part of the vote-getting plan.

The Strains would come up with an idea for earning more votes, such as a trivia contest, or a coloring contest or a "show how much you love us" contest.

One energetic family "forked" the studio’s front lawn, spelling out "Peace, Love, Strain" in plastic forks.

"We’d never been forked before," Brandy said.

Perhaps the most bizarre contest was to give 100 votes to the person who first burst through the front door of the studio early Saturday morning, calling the Hogs.

"We are huge Razorback fans," Brandy explained. "The deal was they had to do the whole yell, all three parts, to win the votes."

Last year’s winner of Image of the Year, Chassie Jones, was on the way to work and asked her ride to stop by the photography shop. "Just for a few minutes," she said. She was first through the door, woo-piggying.

Another idea was the gift of votes to those who donated to H.A.V.E.N. or to the Faulkner County Humane Society. The combined total given to those two non-profit agencies because of the competition was $900.

Results of the contest will be announced on Facebook in three days.

(Becky Harris can be reached at 505-1234 or